Oil-hydrocolloid mix may cut trans fats without affecting quality: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunflower oil, Coconut oil, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Nutrition

The hydrogenated fat content of bakery products may be reduced by replacing trans fats with sunflower or coconut oils, and still maintain characteristics similar to ‘full-fat’ products, says new research.

Replacing hydrogenated fats with sunflower oil or coconut oil increased the polyunsaturated fat content by over 40 percent, but hydrocolloids were needed to ensure the quality characteristics of the cake.

Writing in the Journal of Texture Studies​, researchers from the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), India, explained that more people becoming aware of the relationship between the consumption of hydrogenated trans​ fats and coronary heart disease. As a result, they said that “continuous attempts”​ are being made by the food industry to redesign and reformulate products to eliminate or replace hydrogenated fats.

“[Our research investigates] the effect of replacement of hydrogenated fat with sunflower oil and coconut oil in cake making … ​[and] also highlights the improvement brought about by the addition of emulsifiers and hydrocolloids on the rheological and quality characteristics of cake with oils,” ​said the authors, led by Dr D. Indrani from the department for Flour Milling, Baking and Confectionery Technology, at CFTRI.

Dr Indrani and colleagues added that their findings “will have a practical application in the production of nutritious cakes.”

Baked fats

Many commercial foods and baked goods are manufactured using high percentages of partially hydrogenated fats, which are rich in trans​ fatty acids. A major contributor to this is shortening – a semisolid fat used in food preparation, especially of baked goods; so called because it promotes a ‘short’ or crumbly texture.

Indrani and co-workers explained that shortening performs basic functions in food production, such as the entrapment of air, coating of starch and protein molecules, and emulsification of large amount of liquid.

Vegetable oils are not usually used to replace shortening as they do not trap air during creaming with sugar, resulting in cakes with decreased volume and a harsher crumb.

However, previous studies have suggested that oils could be used instead of shortening during baking; provided other ingredients such as emulsifiers and hydrocolloids are included.

The new study investigated the effects of two vegetable oils (sunflower oil and coconut oil), emulsifiers (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate and polysorbate-60), and hydrocolloids (guar gum and carboxymethyl cellulose) on the rheological properties, fatty acid profile and quality characteristics of pound cake.

Study details

Indrani and colleagues reported that the use of the oils decreased batter viscosity, increased specific gravity and “decreased overall quality score of cakes”.

However, they noted that incorporation of the emulsifier and hydrocolloid additives “significantly improved the quality of cakes.”

“The combination of identified emulsifier and hydrocolloid … to the cakes with sunflower oil and coconut oil, respectively, brought about significant improvement in the quality characteristics of cakes with oils,”​ reported the authors.

“Fatty acid profile showed that the control cake had 51.3 per cent saturated fatty acids and only 6.5 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids … The sunflower oil cake was rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly linoleic acid (44.6 per cent) and the cakes with coconut oil was rich in medium-chain fatty acids, mainly lauric acid (48.9 per cent),”​ they added.

Source: Journal of Texture Studies
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4603.2011.00297.x
“Use of vegetable oils, emulsifiers and hydrocolloids on rheological, fatty acid profile and quality characteristics of pound cake”
Authors: R. Kumari, T. Jeyarani, C. Soumya, D. Indrani

Related topics: Trans- and saturated fats, Fats & oils, R&D

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